State by State

Apparently there is an entire country between Boston and San Francisco.


by Natalia

We were poking fun at the pervasiveness of security measures in Key Largo and had received a karmic retribution: somebody had stolen an iPod from our truck. We must have forgotten to lock the car after lugging our diving gear inside. Unfortunately no-one is interested in cashmere sweaters here as our bags with winter clothes were left intact so not much chance of simplifying the packing. As you may recall we live in a gated community with a guard and security cameras. To me it demonstrates that petty larceny can’t be eliminated and most attempts to do so are a waste of money. Somehow I don’t believe the grand theft and violent crime would be rampant if guards were let go and cameras shut down.

This is actually the second time someone stole something from our car in US. We parked in Boston once and lost a collection of tapes we brought from Poland (yes, it was back in the tapes era). I am starting to think that there must be something about Polish 80s rock that attracts petty criminals. In any case we derive a morbid satisfaction from the fact that the thieves will have to figure out how to reset the iPod using Polish language version of the menus.

Despite our personal experience Key Largo is not as bad as Florida which in turn is worse then national average. Larceny, burglary and assault are slightly more likely but vehicle theft, rape, murder and robbery are way below the level in US. May be it’s the weather - too hot for violence.

The iPod was quite old and used mostly in the car. And we do have a backup. As much as I didn’t mind losing it to somebody desperate enough to steal it I was curious if my loss was grave enough for the police to take action. I filed a report and had a conversation with a very nice deputy sheriff who told me 3 other cars in the condo complex were broken in on the same night. He also told me that the police already has suspects in custody after catching them with a car full of allegedly stolen goods. The sheriff praised me for knowing my iPod serial number as it would let him link the crime to the perpetrators. He shared with me his habit of taking photos and noting serial numbers of all his possessions, especially his guns. I didn’t have heart to tell him I only knew my iPod serial number because it is recorded in iTunes.

Surprisingly the sheriff apologized for the theft, as if it was the police fault. May be it is if the police is responsible for crime prevention. I still think the best way to stop petty larceny would be to do something about the income inequality. Hiring more guards probably won’t spread the wealth around sufficiently.


I may never have a chance to go to another planet. But going 20 meters under water surface is the next best thing. Too bad it might not last. And I am not worried about myself. There is still enough of sites for me to dive for as long as I want. But we might be the last generation that can enjoy it. Oceans are dying on us. It’s not even slow. Reefs are sick. Efforts to replant corals, however successful, have to compete with an ongoing rise in a water temperature (and no matter what you think about the reasons, the oceans are warming up). Fish population are at unsustainable levels. Unless you do go diving it’s hard to appreciate what we are all losing.


We are preparing for boarding M/V Spree to go to the Dry Tortugas Ecological Reserve. We did couple of multiday sailing trips before, but we haven’t done liveaboard yet and have only a faint idea what to expect. I hope that three days of Internet withdrawal will be the greatest challenge. But if you don’t hear from us by the end of the month, you can start mounting a rescue expedition. The boat takes 22 passengers, sleeping quarters are arranged in bunks of 4 to a cabin. The crew promises to feed us constantly. Alas, gourmet food is not mentioned: this is definitely not a cruise ship. Not that I would know the specifics of one never setting the foot aboard. The idea of a giant floating hotel is so unappealing that even the allure of tropical destinations pales next to it. Being marooned on a ship with hundreds of other people strikes me as oppressing, not exhilarating. And with 68% Americans overweight and 34% obese ‘all you can eat’ is plain cruel. Not to mention all those touted attractions: rock climbing, ice skating, tennis, volleyball, etc - one can do all that at home at a fraction of a cost and less crowd to compete with. I am happy to accept that I don’t know what I am missing and have little desire to be proven wrong. I’d rather take a road trip and wander aimlessly hoping to experience something unexpected.